Brad Leage, the operator of “The Endeavor,” a commercial fishing party boat that takes customers on sport fishing trips from Morro Bay Harbor, agrees to pay $12,000 in civil penalties and abide by fishing restrictions during the 2024 fishing season.

The District Attorney’s Office, Special Prosecution Unit, has settled a civil enforcement action with commercial fisherman Brad Leage, a commercial sport fishing operator. Mr. Leage operates the Endeavor, a 55-foot commercial charter fishing vessel based in Morro Bay. The charter boat service regularly takes dozens of paying passengers on deep-sea fishing trips along the coastal waters of San Luis Obispo.   

Commercial fishing is a highly regulated business in California to protect the long-term sustainability of its coastal ecosystems. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers protect the state’s precious marine resources by patrolling and enforcing fishing laws along its 840-mile coastline.

In 2019 and 2021, undercover CDFW officers participated in two sport fishing trips with Leage on the Endeavor.  On both fishing trips, Leage admitted that he inaccurately reported the number of crew fishing on the trip and exceeded legal catch limits. Leage also admitted that some customers exceeded legal fish limits and caused fish to be wasted.

“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife relies upon commercial fishermen to accurately report fishing activities for the successful management of fisheries off our Central Coast,” said Assistant District Attorney Eric Dobroth. “The opportunity to take fish and wildlife resources in California requires a high degree of mutual trust between the public and law enforcement.  Commercial fishing regulations exist to ensure the health of our coastal ecosystems for the public’s continued enjoyment and a sustainable commercial fishing industry.”

The stipulated civil judgment requires Leage to pay civil penalties totaling $12,000. It also requires Leage to accurately report the number of fish caught on board during sport fishing trips. Finally, the judgment prohibits the crew of the Endeavor from fishing on paid customer trips during the 2024 fishing season.

In addition to the civil enforcement case, the case was also prosecuted criminally.  In the criminal case, Leage agreed to follow applicable commercial fishing laws for the next 12 months and comply with the terms of the stipulated civil judgment.       

The Department of Fish and Wildlife investigated the civil case, which Deputy District Attorney Kenneth Jorgensen, assigned to the District Attorney's Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit, prosecuted. Deputy District Attorneys Amy Fitzpatrick and Sean Baird prosecuted the criminal case.

The Consumer and Environmental Enforcement Unit is committed to the fair enforcement of laws relating to public health and safety.  Environmental enforcement focuses on laws that protect public health and safety, including the generation, transportation, and disposal of regulated waste, damage to our natural environment, and hazardous workplace conditions. 

The unit also aims to increase public awareness of environmental issues through presentations to local groups when called upon.

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